Volleyball: Seychelles ARSU retains CAVB Zone 7 Club Championship title in Madagascar and qualify for the African club championship
File Photo: Seychelles team Arsu (on the left wearing blue and white) in action in the 2014 CAVB Zone 7 Club Championship playing against Reunion island's team St Denis. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles women’s team Arsu has proved that they are a real force in regional volleyball after emerging the winner of the Confederation of African Volleyball’s Zone 7 Club Championship, which ended at the weekend.
This year the competition was being played in the neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.
The Seychelles team hailing from the southern part of the main island of Mahé defeated Madagascar’s Stef Auto in the finals played on Saturday.
In an interview with SNA this afternoon, Arsu’s captain, veteran Jerina Bonne said it was a very intense game as they had to play against both the Madagascan team and their supporters.
The game was played in five sets with Arsu winning the first one 25-20, after which Stef Auto stepped up their game winning the second and third sets16-25 and 23-25, respectively. Arsu had to go all out to ensure that they win the remaining two sets 27-25 and 15-10 and the match on the score of 3-2.
“Going into the 4th set having lost two sets we had to dig deep into our inner strength and not having many players on our team, it was quite tough. We had a respite due a short power cut, then we were able to come back and win the 4th set. The last set was much easier and we led all the way to the end,” said Bonne.
“The competition was manageable at the beginning but as it reached the final stages there was added tension but we remained calm and focussed on our objective, especially in front of the Malagasy crowd. We did not let ourselves be distracted.”
|The Seychelles Arsu team defeated Madagascar's Stef Auto to win the CAVB Zone 7 Championship for the 9th time. (Seychelles Nation) CC-BY-NC|
Arsu’s sheer determination also means the team has managed to retain its title won on home turf last year and this is also the 9th time the team has won the regional competition, having emerged as the winner in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2014 and now 2015.
Bonne says they are extremely proud because the team’s players have to spend a lot to be able to take part in such competitions, which also means working hard and giving their best to achieve the best results.
“My team and I are very happy because even though we went into the competition with a small team as many players were unable to make it [some of the team’s players had work and study commitments and could not make the trip], we were able to stay positive and defend our title.”
On top of taking home the most coveted trophy, the ladies team coached by Julien Onezime also won several individual prizes.
Jerina Bonne who announced her retirement as a member of the Seychelles national team following the All Africa Games, proved that she is one of the best players in the region emerging as the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Bonne also won the prize for being the best in the defence and reception.
Her daughter Mariel Bonne, a former professional player who re-joined Arsu last year after a five year spell in France, was named the best attacker and Melina Crispin was named best setter.
Arsu’s performance winning the CAVB Zone 7 Championship also means the team has qualified for the African Club Championship; Africa’s most prestigious club volleyball tournament scheduled.
“We want to have a solid team ...It is the African Club championship after all and we would like to take part in the competition and see how we perform at the continental level. Last year we came out 10th out of 13 teams and we want to improve on that,” Bonne told SNA.
Cascade, the other Seychelles women’s team that was taking part in the competition in Madagascar, only managed a fifth place finish.
On the men’s side Beau Vallon hailing from the northern part of the main island of Mahé, which had to fight for a third place finish last year, managed to reach the finals in Madagascar this year.
However, the Seychelles side was no match to Madagascar’s Gendarmerie Nationale de Volleyball (GNVB) that won the match 3-0.
Beau Vallon apparently played the final game without its veteran player, Bernard Bijoux who suffered a knee injury during the warm-up and had be to be rushed to the hospital.
Beau Vallon was the only men’s team from Seychelles taking part in the competition this year.